Mar 30, 2011

How You Keep Your Family Happy

Keeping a family happy starts from the beginning.

I recall the very moment I suspected that I was having a child. Immediately I was in love, talking, cooing and having intense life-changing conversations with my blastocyst. I was determined to bring someone happy into this world taking every detail seriously and with joy. Thankfully the stars aligned and I delivered an incredibly happy guy.

Keeping him that way, knock knock, has been relatively easy! Even-tempered and thoughtful, a bowl of broccoli has often brought a smile from him. He never fussed, never threw a tantrum and so I made it my specific job to assure that I would do whatever I could to teach him how to keep his perfect peace.

Life has thrown hail on our heads many a time. A bitter divorce, separation from his beloved older brother, pneumonia, being homeless when he was 5 years old, running the wrong way during a gang shoot-out, all could have negatively impacted my little shining star but it didn't. He learned early that happiness comes from within.

Toys don't bring it, lollipops don't bring it, nor do coins or new shoes. Of course he gleans average teen collectibles ... you know shoes, baseball hats, those wrist thingys, t-shirts and music ... he is a normal boy, but "Joy cometh in the morning" has been our lead theme and maintaining happiness is important because it affects health and mental stability.

It is quite an art to be a healthier, happier, you! The balance of good eating, proper rest and exercise and keeping an enlightened frame of mind might, on occasion, be hit or miss, yet it must also be considered art.  Knowing when to heighten your concern about an issue and being able to calm down in a rational way takes practice and restraint.

Keeping your family happy is also keeping a happy self. Having "ahha" moments should go hand and hand with having "wow", "I can handle that" and "WHATEVER" moments too. Our tomorrows are borrowed so we should make every second count in a thoughtful, meaningful, loving manner. We should embrace the catastrophes with as much grace as we do our delights. It is a challenge but one that is solid and worth its own weight.

“I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Farm Rich blogging program, for a gift card worth $25. For more information on how you can participate, click here.”

Mar 28, 2011

What Is My Favorite Thing About Easter??

Spring is here! YAY! Well, okay, technically Spring is here, the thermometer just has not realized it yet, here in the Midwest.

My grass has just a smidgen of green sprouts, but I know it is on its way ... isn't it?? It has to surface at some point, and even if it doesn't, I will sing its praises anyway ! 

Why? Because Spring and Easter go together "like peas and carrots" as Forrest Gump would say! So many rows and rows of goodies, treats, and neats decorate the aisles. Bunnies and baskets, candy and toys. I noticed all of the commotion right after St. Patty's Day. The difference is huge because now is the reign of the peeps! Those marshmellowy treats have now taken on most holidays but are most visible at Easter-time. I too fall easy victim to the sugary delicacy. Meltey and gooey, leaving a glaze around our mouths. 

Of course the jelly beans, bellys and Starbursts must accompany any easter holiday because who can resist them? The thought of all the Easter pleasures is already giving me a tummy ache!  

The chocolate Easter eggs, beautiful lillys and linens, all bring a smile to my face. The holiness of the holiday is often obscured as we give way to commercial dissecting of humans and their consumerist needs.

Throughout the years of my celebrating Easter, it has been embraced year to year quite differently.

My early year reflections include ham and mashed potatoes, sparkling grape juice, a Spring frock and brand new patent leather shoes.

I grew fond of rainbow colors and the pleats, but those "Mary Janes" ... they were not something I longed for. Those shoes always, always hurt my feet! 

Yes, when I was little, Easter Sunday's were spent at my uncle's home surrounded by so many family members it was often insane. The tradition I recall is trying to find a spot - somewhere - anywhere, where I could be comfortable listening to Judy Garland and the gang belt out Follow the Yellow Brick Road. It seems as if The Wizard of Oz was always showing during Easter Holidays of the 70's, playing on my fear of tornadoes and rolling through meadows in itchy grasslands.

Once I had my own family, I tried like we who celebrate do, to make it memorable and successful and of course, a delight. Many years I tried too hard, and had us booked from sun up to sun down with church, traipsing through parks looking for treats, and visiting everyone we could think of . After realizing less is more, we began to find that being able to eat and enjoy was far more important. Yes, you see traveling from one place to the next might seem as if you'd be fed more than once, yet often times, we'd be running so much that we'd miss everyone's meal-time and end up at a drive-thru - YUCK! 

Now that my son is a teen, the favorite thing about Easter is being alive to enjoy another holiday! Many of my elders have passed on. I am thankful I still have my parents, and am old enough to know that life is promised no one.  As we make our way each day, the next second can certainly be our last. 

My mom just stopped making my 15 year old his very own basket filled with chocolate, eggs, and toys. Last year he received a card and money. This year might be one of new traditions. Maybe a drive along the lake and brunch! We might fit in some other celebration. Or maybe, just maybe I will find a nice pair of Mary Janes that fit!

“I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Hop blogging program, for a gift card worth $25. For more information on how you can participate, click here.” 

Mar 27, 2011

Bocce, Bowling & Beverages!

What could be more fun then gaming with your tweeps!!!

Pinstripes is a hot spot where you can meet new Twitter pals and mingle with Chicagolands finest in social media.

Ga'head, JOIN THE FUN hosted by pal Mitch of @Refigeration and Northeast Cooling!

Date & Time

Thursday, March 31 from 6:00pm - 8:00pm (CDT)
Add to Calendar


1150 Willow Road
Northbrook, IL 60062

Mar 24, 2011

#RamonWOW ~ BOY that Dominos Delivers!

Last night Chicago Social Media types gathered in huge numbers to celebrate Foursquare's 2nd Birthday at Digital Bootcamp 25 West Hubbard, Chicago, IL

Here is video from my pal and SUPER SOCIAL MEDIA expert #RamonWOW @Ramon_DeLeon proprietor of several Dominos Pizza Stores.

Mar 21, 2011

Green Me, Green You...

and Green Chicago too!!!

You may already know my pals and #lunchbunch crew @JenChicago (Jen Knoedl) and @Mafiahairdreser Jon-David from Twitter or Facebook.

They are two wonderful, conscientious Chicagoans who will share with you an awesome, upcoming CHICAGO EVENT! APRIL 18, 2011 at the JOSEPH MICHAEL SALON 1313 N. Ritchie Court 312-482-9800

                                             WATCH HERE:

For more information visit:

Mar 20, 2011

I'm So Excited...

and I just can't hide it .... I'm about to lose control and I think I like it!" Trevor Lawrence wrote the words and the Pointer Sisters made them famous.

BUT whenever I feel jubilant about something ... the song plays in my mind!!!

Silly, I know! However, I just purchased a set of stackable bracelets from my friend Rae Lewis-Thornton and I can not WAIT to show them off.

Fashion personified and elegance too. It is also for a good cause!

You too can have your own set, and help a woman who is vibrant and a pillar in the community.

In the meantime, you can admire my set until you get your own!

Mar 15, 2011

You TOO Can Drive The Midwest!

Driving the Midwest is a continuation of GM's "Chevy Missions" program.

As a direct benefactor of the mission program I eagerly fell into supporting "Driving The Midwest" and its current challenge - Our Town, Our Hero Vote.

I nominated Kelly O'Connor.

You may recall Kelly as Chief Coordinator of my very own Chevy Mission where we transported school kids to a middle school who needed their help mentoring peers and lending a hand in the after-school programs.

Our program ran 8 weeks and would have been a big, fat ZERO without Kelly's help and participation.

Why nominate a hero?

Introducing folks to Chevy's new exciting line of vehicle sparks true joy.

We all have a responsibility to promote things that are important to us individually. 

For me, I have fallen in love with General Motors and the Chevy product! After an adult life of driving foreign, I was so impressed with the new relationship we were being introduced to. The automobile industry had betrayed U.S. trust and General Motors stepped up, interacted with the community intimately and I was touched.

Then I began to notice the product.

Sleek, conscientious designs. Sturdy, spacious and with frills and  bells!

I LOVED all the models and was passionate about each vehicle I was allowed to sample.

So seeing the Chevy Traverse, seeing Kelly, and other parents, being given the opportunity to witness reinvention. Be pampered with style, comfortable reach of knobs and navigation, gorgeous display and so spacious. Witnessing the genius behind OnStar! The joy of having satellite radio!

What a ride.


THEN, find your local Chevy dealer and experience a CHEVY or any General Motors ride today!!

                   2010 Chevy Traverse at the "Chevy Moms Chevy Mission"

Mar 14, 2011

~ Rae's Collection ~



Listen to internet radio with RaeLewisThornton on Blog Talk Radio

Rae is also having a SALE!

Her items are from her personal collection and are part of her new desire for minimalism.

Fighting to make it and maintain her wealth and health, Rae has some really classic finds!

She has me wishing I could cut off my toes to fit the Donald Pliners and Stuart Weitzmans!

                                                 PLEASE CHECK OUT RAE!

Mar 11, 2011

My Girls Are On A Chevy Road-trip!

@JenChicago & @NicoleYeary accompanied by @JessicaMurray and @SJOgborn and a Chevy Traverse name Diamond?

Mar 9, 2011

What Makes You Feel Lucky?

Feeling lucky is a state of mind. I like to think that I own that state of mind. I truly have been lucky.

I could have experienced the worst case: Young Single Mom to an African American boy could have played out several ways ... and while I am knocking on wood as I type, I still consider myself rather lucky. I even dare to say, that if you believe as I do, I am blessed.

Living in an inner city is a challenge for any one. Tack on being single and raising a young, black male and you've just handled a grenade.

However, I studied my situation and took painstaking measure to balance and weigh options to assure, as much as humanly possible, that my son would make it out of his statistical nightmare and be intelligent, thriving, contributing, strong, member of his community.

Part of my plan involved watching lots of movies together. 

Now that my goober is now a teen, I have difficulty savoring ALL of his choices, BUT we still reach common ground on occasion.

Redbox "Refer-A-Friend" Promotion is so easy! AND you can earn an online rental credit!

Someone you truly care about can complete a reservation using a unique link. With a 72 hour clearance, before you know it, you are up and running with an email and a rental credit all ready to use.

We tend to prefer intricate dramas, but I have often succumbed to my son's quirkier side by falling into the crazy antics of male-bonding. We both continue our love affairs with his child-hood favorites like "Sponge-Bob" and "Toy Story" and often challenge ourselves with classics like "Troy" or "A River Runs Through It".

Lucky to be able to watch and learn.

Lucky to be able to share and care.

Luck whirls through our lives in many forms and patterns.

Paying strict attention to the wonders of our lives, and also being able to pin a movie to that time-frame becomes sentimentality at its finest!

That goes for games too.

Do you remember what point of your life you were playing Packman? Mario Brothers? 


Those were special times, or not...but they were defined by some of the movies, shows, music or games we played at that time.

Even today, as you raise little ones, time has etched itself in your play-by-play with something impeccably memorable.

Sure, this generation has more computerized little people programming, IPads, notebooks, e-games, e-books ... BUT guess what??? Redbox keeps up with all of those ideals and allows you to share with someone you care about or wish to influence!

Luck has nothing to do with this part, that is simply playing it smart!

Check out today's, yesterday's and tomorrow's best by partaking REDBOX!

“I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and redbox blogging program, for a $25 Walmart gift card from redbox. For more information on how you can participate, click here.”